Today is the Fourth of July … typically a fun holiday involving grill-outs, get-togethers with friends, and at the end of the day, a fireworks display. I remember many a Fourth spent with our old friends Kim & Jerry, cooking out on their patio, then going to a local park where every year there was an awesome fireworks display. It was a much-anticipated day. This year, I actually forgot that it was the fourth until yesterday when I was talking on the phone with my friend Herb, and he reminded me. Whoopee.
The point of the holiday is to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence back in 1776, some 242 years ago. It would be another eleven years before the U.S. Constitution was born, but still, it was the beginning of the process that eventually led to the nation we now know as the United States of America, the USA.
Frankly, while I still have admiration for those who have gone before and helped shape this nation, those who worked tirelessly to make it a good place to live by abolishing slavery, working toward civil rights and equal rights for women, those who have engaged in humanitarian ventures to help the people … the ordinary people … of this nation thrive, I have very little pride in this country today. I really do not feel like celebrating the hypocrisy that this nation has become.
We are currently in the midst of such great upheaval, such chaos, that I no longer even feel that it is a single nation, but rather a bunch of people living on the same continent, but being engaged in a constant battle with prize being … nothing. The things that once made me proud to live in this country are being eroded day-by-day. Police killing unarmed blacks simply because they can get away with it. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups marching, holding rallies, all because they are arrogantly convinced that somehow pale skin is a virtue. Conspiracy theories running rampant. People at either end of the political spectrum engaging in juvenile name-calling, threats and taunts, rather than trying to work together to solve the nation’s ills. And nearly 3,000 innocent children, torn from the arms of their parents and being held hostage by our own government, innocent pawns in a high-stakes game of politics. Where this nation began as a nation of immigrants, we now vilify immigrants.
The people we voted for, we elected to represent us and our values, sit in their fancy air-conditioned offices and scoff at our needs, our desires. “Vote for me and I’ll promise you everything you ask for,” they say in the lead-up to November, but then after they are elected, it’s “Ha ha, sucker! Don’t call me … I’ll call you!” They do not even hear or see our cries for equality, for truth, for justice, for help.
The history of this nation has sometimes been noble, often not. We killed the Native Americans in droves and ran them off their land for our own greed. We held on to the notion that African-Americans were not wholly to be considered human beings, but rather slaves, for far too many years and even today, some hold onto that belief. We interned citizens of Japanese ancestry for no other reason than unwarranted fear during World War II. We murdered more than a quarter-of-a-million people by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan in 1945. The list of our less-than-glorious moments in history is long.
And today, we are engaged in actively and knowingly destroying the earth for no other reason than to put more money in the pockets of rich corporate barons. We are devaluing our poor people, robbing them of health care and even food & shelter. We are condoning the blatant discrimination of people whose skin is not pale or who do not believe in the “Christian values” that are determined by a small group of men called ‘televangelists’ who are getting rich off people who can ill-afford to support their luxury lifestyles. We are supporting corrupt politicians who are milking us for their own personal gain. We are intentionally scaling back our education system so that only the wealthy will be well-educated enough to hold political offices in the future.
There are many things to love about this nation, but today I have trouble remembering what they are. I love the wonderful forests, rivers, lakes and coastal areas, but those are being destroyed by greed, by oil pipelines, drilling and mining operations that put more money in the pockets of the wealthy. It feels like everything that was once good is being destroyed, and I find it difficult to feel any joy in celebrating the birth of a nation that is now eating its own. A nation that places more value on a dollar than on a life.
Many will not like this post, will not like my harsh words, and I understand that. Frankly, I don’t like them either, but they are honest words. Honesty … one of the values, along with integrity and compassion, that we have thrown in the trash as we race to become a nation of rich white people. It is a vision that sickens me and one that I want no part of.
Keep safe and enjoy your holiday, friends. Love ‘n hugs to you all!